CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake South wanted to do something to pad the margin Crystal Lake Central had cut to five by halftime.
Gators point guard Gaby DeJesus was more than happy to play a large part. DeJesus scored eight of South’s final 10 points of the quarter as the Gators pushed the lead to 16 points and went on to drop Central, 59-41, in their Fox Valley Conference crossover girls basketball game Saturday at Gator Alley.
The game was part of the schools’ Day of Hoops, an annual celebration where girls and boys games are played through the day on every high school level. This year, money from donations and a bake sale during the day went to benefit a local family with relatives from Washington, Ill. Three families related to the local family had their homes destroyed by the tornado.
“[Central] had high pressure, so we had to attack the basket,” said DeJesus, who scored a season-high 13 points. “Our posts got me good seals on their players so I had some good alleys to the basket.”
DeJesus’ speed was more than Central could stop as the Gators moved to 5-4.
“Gaby really took it on herself to be aggressive and get to the basket,” South coach Kyle McCaughn said. “That was huge for us.”
Rachel Rasmussen led the Gators with 15 points, 10 in the first quarter as South never trailed. Rasmussen hit three 3-pointers for the game, two in the first quarter.
“That sets the tempo for the whole game,” McCaughn said. “That’s a lot of positive energy. Early in the season, we weren’t getting that.”
Central battled back with a pair of 3s from Kelsey Schmitt in the second quarter and cut the lead, once at 11, to 29-24 at halftime.
“They do a fantastic job of playing to their strengths,” Tigers coach Paul Lichtenheld said. “We were more concerned about [forward Sara] Mickow, but Rasmussen and DeJesus just killed us.”
Mickow finished with 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Schmitt scored 14 points to lead the Tigers, while Evelyn Youel scored six and grabbed 10 rebounds.